Zille’s ‘privilege’ tweets expose racial hypocrisy

Staff Writer | May 25, 2019
Western Cape Premier and former Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille has earned a barrage of abuse – and an undertaking by the party to discipline her – for social media comments on the ‘white privilege’ debate.

The DA announced this week that it would be taking action against its former leader after she took to social media to expose the hypocrisy and double standards at the centre of South Africa’s ‘white privilege’ debate. 

It has become commonplace for academics, journalists, and politicians to openly attack and stigmatise racial minorities in South Africa purely on the grounds of skin colour. ‘White privilege’ advocates hold that skin colour can be used to determine a person’s character, socio-economic circumstances, political views, and commitment to South Africa’s future as a free and open society. 

The DA has come to adopt similar ideas, arguing that ‘whiteness’ is a serious threat to South Africa’s future and that it undermines socio-economic advancement. The party has also argued that race should determine government policy. 

Taking to social media, the former DA leader said that if race did determine personal attributes then there must be another side of the whiteness coin that she termed ‘black privilege’. 

Speaking on the Daily Friend Show earlier this week, IRR analysts said that Zille had skilfully exposed how wrong racial stereotyping was and that people should not be judged according to skin colour but rather according to their character and individual circumstances. The IRR staffers said that one of the founding principles of the IRR was to oppose racism, racial stereotyping, and racial stigmatisation wherever it occurred.   

Several commentators, politicians, activists, and journalists have, however, pilloried Zille for her view that race should not be used to judge anyone’s character. The DA has said that Zille would be referred to the party's Federal Executive Council.  


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